Tanya Watson, the first female Irish diver to qualify for the Olympics, has made the 10m platform semi-final after finishing 16th in the preliminary round.

Nerves were jangling as the final round drew in with Watson dangling close to the top-18 cut off mark, but her total score of 289.40 gave the 19-year-old some breathing space, finishing 11.40 points ahead of South Korea's Halim Kwon.

Originally from Southampton in the UK, Watson had a solid start, her first dive delivering 62.40 and putting her in 13th spot and a 57.0 second dive.

But a disappointing third dive, when she performed two-and-a-half back summersaults in the pike position, only delivered a 52.20, her lowest score in the five-round preliminary.

That left the 2018 Junior World and European Championship finalist in the 16th position, with the top 18 in the 30-diver competition going through to the semi-final.

Watson held her nerve in the final two dives with scores of 60.20 and 57.60 keeping her in 16th and booking herself an historic semi-final spot.

"I feel great, and just excited to go out there again and do my dives and get through again tomorrow," Watson said after her Olympic debut.

"My first dive was pretty good for me, everything was consistent, so all my dives were on the head.

"But I just need to work on ... my entries, there was some splash there which I would like to get rid of.

"My first, second, third, fourth, fifth dives, they were all consistent. So I'm really, really happy with that.

"My plan into the semi-finals is that I personally want to enjoy it again. I did really good diving today, so I’m really excited to find that again."

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Top place went to 15-year-old Yuxi Chen of China with 390.70, followed by her even younger team-mate Hongchan Quan, the 14-year-old scoring 364.45, with the USA's Delaney Schnell in third on 360.75.

Tomorrow’s semi-final will see the top 12 qualify for the final and if Watson can break the 300-point mark she would have a strong chance of making the final, going by the benchmark of previous Olympic final qualification scores.